Some people are more equipped than others to deal with work distractions and some people are more equipped than others to deal with loneliness or isolation when working in a home office environment.
I like the debate but can see both sides and don't feel there is one clear "right way".
I like "studies" such as this, not because I think a survey based study really validates my position but because I can point to this article to progress my own agenda with the hiring managers of the world.. Just being honest (or honest about dishonesty I guess..)
First of all, 25 people is a small sample. It could be that the study luckly found enough people to make the data sing this song.
Second, work more/harder doesn't mean "better than those in the office".
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Yeah, 25 is no sample at all. I mean, I work from home, but that's only because that works for my current situation and the type of work I do. There are a million other factors that can affect productivity either way.
Not saying that's absolutely everyone in all situations but like most mental health issues you can't really self diagnose.
This doesn't work for everyone, a lot of people will say they get distracted, or don't have motivation to make it work. In my mind it's generally because they haven't setup the proper home office atmosphere and/or processes.
True as that may be, it's fairly easy to stay focused in a work environment and fairly hard not to go insane at home. Setting up the proper home office atmosphere and processes, experimenting with different ways of working, that in itself is part of the ordeal.
It depends on the work and home environments. In my office there are a lot of distractions, probably because I work in Presales which means I'm sitting among salespeople, who are one of the loudest groups in a corporate environment. On top of this we have an open-office plan, which means that even if I put on noise-canceling headphones, I still have to deal with visual distractions like people walking by. As if all of this weren't enough, our catered lunch starts at noon and ends at 1pm, so I need to take that into account when I schedule my day, even if I'm not hungry at that time.
In contrast, my home is a very quiet and comfortable environment. On days that I have worked from home (sick, car troubles, etc. - working from home under normal circumstances is strictly forbidden), I have gotten three to four times as much work done.
That depends entirely on the person. I've spent years working totally in an office, totally at home, and various combinations of the two.
I get a lot less done in the office precisely because I can't concentrate with people moving and talking all around me. Just the thought of the open floorplan setups a lot of companies have makes me shudder. Putting headphones on and listening to music is just as distracting to me.
Working from home, it's quiet and I can focus on what I need to. I don't have any issue with lack of social contact; between IMs, telephone, Skype, and the occasional trip to the office it just never seems to be an issue.
Overall, I think the best setup (for me) is being able to work from home as often as I want (2-4 days a week), with the opportunity to go into an office whenever I want for meetings and general discussion.
At home: I can't get work done because I get distracted by my couch/play video games.
At the office: I'm not getting work done because I'm reading HN all day long.
Knowing yourself and how to create the proper processes/workplace is important, and something everyone should discover about themselves.
You have to chitchat plenty, and you have to do lunches out a couple times a week, etc, and have social interaction in the evenings.
Anecdote: only 4 of the top 10 tech staff at my company are based in offices. Just a few months after our CEO made some backhanded comments about that statistic, he hired an EVP who also works from home (and who brought 3 VPs with him, all of whom are also WFHers). ymmv.
To be fair it the individual, their team and manager should know when working remotely is and isn't working on a case by case basis
Working from home looks horrible if the person is not disciplined, you can end up the whole day watching TV or reading articles on the net since no one is watching you. In many cases WFH is synonymous with taking leave for a day, without actually having to take leave.
Currently you see the most discipline people working from home, hence you always hear good news about it. Wait for a while, when your ordinary guy begins to work from home and see how its not all milk and honey.
You can conquer the world with such a effort.
Curious to know, how do you do it?
1. I spend a lot of time planning my day, week, month, trimester. I don't go longer than that because plans change so much that its not useful. Planning is crucial, and real hard work. If you are not planning, then you are just wasting resources away.
I do plan differently than other people. I don't use TODO lists. Mine are more scribbles on a notebook. Each day I set a goal of completing n amount tasks and focus on getting them done. They can be for something from the present, or for something one month away. Having such flixibility allows me to buy myself time.
2. I track my momentum. The more I do the more I want to do. I have this neat little calendar that I created myself called "The Snowball Calendar", where I keep track of every productive day I've had. Just imagine a printed calendar and each day is crossed with a big red X. I put this in a place where its visible. Gets me amped up to keep working towards my goals by just seeing how much Ive done already.
3. I allow myself to just get up and leave at almost any time (unless Im with a client or doing some specific work). Sometimes I get on my truck and get a table at Chilli's. Then spend about 2-3 hours working from there. Other times I simply go to the backyard with my laptop. :)
4. I meditate. But not any Zen-style meditation. I do what I call work mediation. In it I see what I want to accomplish already done, then trace back the steps needed to complete it. I really like doing this because it really eases a lot of pains that come up during projects. A great example is that I use this technique to first write the programs in my head, and then onto the computer. I can really cut down coding time if I just write the whole thing in my mind.
5. I dont have a strict schedule, say from 9-5. Doesnt work for me. I do things in blocks of time. Length varies by task. Sometimes Im a complete night owl, and sometimes I wake up early in the morning and work. My sleep is not deprived because I take nap breaks.
6. I don't surf the web from any of my workstations. I only do it from my iPod. Netflix, Pandora, Youtube, HN, reddit, etc., they are only accessed from the iPod. The workstations are for work only. I have one for code, one for writing, and two servers that power Nuuton's crawler.
7. I make sure to work while doing other things. Not multi-tasking, though. Say I'm cleaning around the house. I keep a pen and notebook at hand. While cleaning my mind wanders off. Every few minutes I get a burst of data coming in. I stop and write those things down. Every thought.
8. I exercise well. Exercise keeps me in top shape. Plus my best ideas and solutions always come when Im running on the track.
9. I dont follow a particular diet, but I make sure to count calories and eat well. Eating fast food is just detrimental to productivity because my body shuts down. I feel sleepy and tired from all the junk in it.
10. I take mini vacations where I just dont do anything at all. Nothing. Just sleep, watch netflix, and eat. This past weekend was one of such. After working hard for a month and a half (average 80 hours a week because I also worked on Sundays), I had to take a break. So I took it.
11. I dont waste time picking my clothes. I have a standard attire that I use every day (like an uniform).
I'm basically working or thinking about things during the whole day. But I have always been like this. And Im not sure if this is something that anyone can copy or do (or even learn). Its just the way I am. I know of people who are very productive working much less than I do. So it just differs from person to person.
Also, I guess this boils down to personality but I much rather work in the office where it is much harder to get distracted whereas at home you can just turn on the tv, watch movies, cook etc.
Distractions can be overcome if you're willing to work on them. I find with daily standups, it's pretty hard to hide from a lack of progress, but if you don't have these then teaming up with a few colleagues to keep each other accountable is one option.
I stay away from TV, movies, etc during work hours, but I do tend to prepare proper meals in my lunch hour, rather than just grabbing whatever junk I can find. It's a good way to combat the extra weight you can gain when you start working from home too.